English Monolingualism Essay

1467 Words 6 Pages
The imperial dominance of economic impetus on global capital has propagated a contemporary gravitation towards English as a common global language. As the United States has been the country primarily responsible for the global proliferation of capital as well as home to the largest native English speaking population in the world, it would be a natural assumption to think that English would be mandated as the official language of the country. It is not. Although the supremacy of the English language in the United States remains a prevalent, unequivocal notion, the US itself was founded on doctrines protecting the inalienable rights of a multicultural nation, declaring the freedom granted to its citizens to be self-evident. Proponents of …show more content…
Linguistic diversity is a concept that has existed in the United States since the dawning of its history as a nation. At its conception, the framers deemed the need for lawful protection of language as an unnecessary endeavor, remaining silent on the subject. Nowhere in our Constitution did they reserve a designation for the English language as a symbol of the American identity (Crawford, 1992). The English Only movement did not become a major theme in America until the beginning of the twentieth century. With an influx of immigrants dramatically increasing between 1880 and 1920, the Americanization campaign arose, giving birth to language restrictionism as a response to fears that the newcomers were resisting assimilation into the American mainstream and unwilling to learn English (Wiley, 2007). The Americanization movement lost steam in the 1930s with the decline of immigration and gave rise to the idea of cultural pluralism, although the United States was still widely referred to as a “melting pot” (US Americanization, …show more content…
Funding and campaigns have aided the movement’s progression. In the last two decades, twenty-three states have passed Official English laws (Crawford, 1994). In recent years, several states including Arizona, California, and Massachusetts, were successful in passing ballot initiatives that restrict bilingual education and services while imposing English only instruction (Rolstand, Mahoney & Glass, 2005). At the federal level, similar policies are present for English language learning students, enacted by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The No Child Left Behind Act emphasizes the importance of English acquisition and the stresses a rapid transition to an English only education (Rolstand et al., 2005). This modern battle over language education, coupled with implementation of new wave language restriction, has given staying power to the present language policy debate, thrusting it into controversial

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